Whenever someone mentions underground music cities in Germany, the ensuing discussion will usually touch on Berlin and Frankfurt, and if the list-maker’s done his or her homework they will come up with Mannheim.
Keeping my eyes on the worldwide underground music scene has become during the years a routine of mine. I couldn’t help but notice that Mannheim has strongly started a clubbing scene worthy of international attention. Within the past few years, the city based on the Rhine river established itself as a hotspot for techno and minimal, wanting to discover something new by boasting a solid venue – Parker Lewis – or the renowned Timewarp festival and an enthusiastic scene with plenty of support for upcoming musicians. This might be why it churns out new talent at such a rapid pace, encouraging more and more artists to come up from under the radar. The underground club scene is thriving, demonstrating that there is a core of young, innovative people in these cities who want to stay there and create something of their own. It bounded a generation who look forward and for many of them, electronic music is the soundtrack of the future by all its sub-genres.
Leading me in wanting to find out more about the movement and the people behind it. So I talked to Dominik and Philipp from the recently launched project BE9, but I’ll leave them answers to spice things up
Bianca: What’s BE9 all about?
Philipp: It might be easier to answer to your expectations, that we are a music project or a new agency, but honestly it’s not that easy to explain, because the roots are way more deeper. Generally it´s part of how our circle of friends like to express their passion for the music and the scene. Most of our friends are dealing with music, through labels, as a DJ or/and Producer, Promoter etc., but we never had feelings to compete in a bad way against each other. This is why we decided to make it the other way around, support each other in the most honest way and to bundle our forces to create a bigger impact on ourselves and even create a higher visibility of our „Mannheim Sound“.
BE9 stand for what?
It´s like a code for our location, crew, where we live, produce, play and enjoy a free life with our own rules.
Who are the founders behind this move?
A movement is made by anyone who takes part and drives the progress.
When it all started?
Well regarding the project BE9, I guess it started a long time before it was in our mind. We had lot of chats, how cool it would be to unite all of us, even with this huge heterogeneity within our circle. But of course it needed a kick off. In the last summer some of our friends came together, shared their ideas and started to run a concept with all the hurdles everyone can imagine. But generally it all started a bit earlier in a lovely and humble place where the Oslo guys Nekes and Johnny D and some other friends used to live together and celebrated wild and extended after-hours. At this time the house was squatted by punks. After some of the guys moved to Berlin, David Nicolas and Mario took over the flat and kept up the spirit. Step by step the punks left the house and it was taken over by our circle of friends and even more like minded people who picked our hood as the right spot to live in. Nowadays eleven people live here in this community.
In the last summer a dream came true, when we had the opportunity to rent the backyard house. Our friends from Sedee and Mario had an eye on this location for a long time since it seemed to be the perfect spot to bring our energy and project to the next level. After a long renovation (…which is still not completely finalized – by the way thanks a lot to all of the hard working friends :)) the house got the shape where we can relax, produce music and organize our BE9 project.
Were you inspired by a similar movement somewhere else or it was just a natural outcome of the Mannheim local scene?
Of course we have been inspired, for example from our friends in Romania. But if you start to run a project like this you have to go your own way. Especially if nearly all of your good friends are involved. Mannheim itself has a techno legacy, we would like to carry on and shape it with our ideals and way of thinking. Mannheim is a relatively small city, but with a big outcome by artists like Vera or events like the Timewarp. Especially we would like to mention the former RAJO-Crew from Mannheim (Nekes, Federico Molinari, Johnny D, Nick Curly, Ray Okpara etc) who can be seen as the first generation, although our sound and structure is different.
You think there was a need for an official platform to sustain and encourage the development of the local scene and talents?
If we would answer no, this interview might be a fail. (laughing) Well, I guess the sound of our artists and our labels is something different, with no rules and order. But at the end it´s the feedback of the dancefloor who encouraged us to start a huge project like BE9.
Do you think it’s difficult to enter the Mannheim scene as a young talent?
Generally we are open-minded for everyone who is passionate about music and has the heart at the right place. The concept intends to encourage and facilitate the creative process. This means either to connect with talented people, not only from the region even from all parts of the world.
Who’s a part of BE9?
BE9 is represented by the following artists and DJ-projects: Andre Lemont, Ben Balance, David Nicolas, Derrick Drakeford, Fabe, Ho Do Ri, Jan Golly, Padez, Mioh, Sebastian Werle, SalSal (part of Fusal), Sedee, Sithou, Toby T and Tolga Top and the following labels like: Kusi Records, Malonian, Medeia Records, Salty Nuts, Sukhumvit Records, Understatement and Valioso Recordings. Of course to be mentioned our beloved weekend headquarter Parker Lewis Club and of course the many friends who participate, support and share our vision.
How is a day at BE9 headquarters?
It´s like in a big family. We share our daily life around the music and apart from it.
How would you describe BE9 in a movie title?
Thanks you both for your time and good luck with everything you plan!
Words: Bianca Iulia